By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
Orange County, meet Polysics—also known as Hiroyuki Hayashi, Kayo, Fumi and Yano. They're from Tokyo, which in case you haven't heard means they're Japanese and, in this instance, occasionally sing in unintelligible English—though their lyrics aren't really what's important. That would be their sound: to most, it's a mishmash of something like new wave, experimental, synthpop and simply J-rock, but if you wanted to be obnoxious, you could tell your friends they're Devo-circa-late-1970s with a bit of Lightning Bolt (feel free to substitute any contemporary noise rock band) and just a dash of something reallyfucking adorable, like Puffy AmiYumi, to account for the occasional cutesy female vocals.
This hybridity influences everything from Polysics' songwriting to their costuming—definitively Devo hazard-orange jump suits paired with sunglasses—and beyond: the band is named after the Korg Polysix, the first synthesizer front man Hayashi ever owned; their second American release is titled Neu; and their second major Japanese release? Eno. The band even seems to be a warped descendant of the infamous Japanoise genre.
However, in spite of the fact that Polysics' career seemingly comprises reference after quirky reference to their many American and European muses, that doesn't mean they shouldn't be taken seriously. Their album Hey! Bob! My Friend was an impressive American debut, loaded with spazzy, almost nerdy rock, laced with traces of electronica and pop, and topped off with furiously vigorous, tinnitus-friendly guitar and drum noise. Follow-up album Neu took on a noticeably different sound with an art-punk-noise-etc. kind of approach, especially evident in the deliciously tempestuous guitar dissonance of "Urge On! [Velocity 2]." And just released in November, Now Is the Time!, produced by Andy Gill of Gang of Four, proves even more distinctive, laden with Polysics' most poppy tracks to date, especially the almost sickeningly cute "Wild One." But don't worry—instances of that cerebrum-splattering noise still remain in between the beeping and booping of Nintendo intros and melodies.
Still, for a band that's appeared on countless compilations and released a best-of album, two DVDs, more than five full-length records, a slew of EPs and a remix album, Polysics remains shockingly unknown. Despite all the stateside critical acclaim they've received for their releases, an American audience remains elusive. Which is all the more reason for you to meet Polysics: they could use a friend or two. Go on, say hi.
Polysics with Los Abandoned and the Lashes at the Glass House, 200 W. Second St., Pomona; www.theglasshouse.us. Wed., 7 p.m. $10. All ages.